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How to tell if you have a hormone imbalance

If you’re a woman over 35, your hormones are starting to change.

These are the peri-menopausal years, transitioning you between your reproductive years and menopause when your cycle stops and you are no longer ovulating.

Not every woman is affected by this, but the majority of women will have at least some symptoms, even if they are mild. And many women suffer multiple symptoms at once. This is very common, as hormone balance is very delicate and one hormone can disrupt all the others.

How do you know if you have a hormone imbalance, and which one?

Well there are many common symptoms that will give you a clue as to which hormones may be playing up.

There are 4 main hormones that are mainly responsible for fluctuations during these years. I call them the Feisty 4! Many of the symptoms are similar due to the nature of hormone interactions.

Take a look at each one, and tick the symptoms that apply to you.

CORTISOL IMBALANCE;

Cortisol is your stress hormone. High, low or variable cortisol can result in many symptoms;

  • Frazzled – feel overwhelmed, racing from one task to another – TOO BUSY, hard to switch off/relax, always need to check emails, addicted to social media or work
  • Cranky – quick to feel angry, irritable, impatient, snap at kids, partner, colleagues
  • Depressed – cry easily, feel low/sad, and/or drink and eat for comfort
  • Overweight– especially around the middle, diets not working
  • Exhausted – feel tired, especially in the afternoon – rely on coffee, sugar, cigarettes or soda to keep going and/or alcohol to wind down
  • Anxious – constantly worrying , nervous, panicky, fearful
  • Can’t sleep – too wired to sleep, racing brain at night. Or wake up for a few hours and can’t get back to sleep.
  • Cravingssugar/chocolate/carb cravings
  • Forgetful – brain fog, can’t concentrate, get distracted, memory lapses, absent-minded
  • Digestive issues – bloating, flatulence, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea
  • Frequent colds/infections seem to pick up whatever’s going round (especially when you stop)
  • Low sex drive – no energy or desire for sex
  • PMS – irregular, heavy or painful periods, monthly bloating, headaches, mood swings, breast tenderness
  • Infertility – can’t get pregnant or having miscarriages

THYROID IMBALANCE;

Thyroid is your metabolism regulator. Too much or little can contribute to many symptoms;

Signs of an underactive thyroid;

  • Overweight – diets not working, sugar cravings
  • Exhausted – feel tired all day, even if you’ve slept well – rely on coffee, sugar, cigarettes or soda to keep going
  • Moody – mood swings, irritable, impatient
  • Brain fog – slow to get going, hard to concentrate, general fog
  • Depressed – cry easily, feel low/sad
  • Anxious – constantly worrying , nervous, panicky, fearful
  • Bloated – constipation, lethargy, puffy face/eyes
  • Cold – feel the cold easily, cold feet/hands
  • Achy aching joints, headaches
  • Hair falling out – thinning hair, hair loss, missing outer third of eyebrows
  • Low sex drive – no energy or desire for sex
  • Infertility – can’t get pregnant or having miscarriages
  • PMS – irregular, heavy or painful periods, monthly bloating, headaches, mood swings, breast tenderness
  • Poor skin and nails – dry, itchy skin, puffy face and eyes, brittle nails
  • High cholesterol – often associated with low thyroid
  • Goiter (swelling in neck) – difficulty swallowing or swollen tongue
  • Family history – thyroid conditions have a genetic factor

Signs of an overactive thyroid;

  • palpitations
  • high Blood Pressure
  • anxiety, panic attacks
  • excessive sweating
  • weight loss
  • bulging eyes
  • goiter (swelling in neck) 
  • family history

OESTROGEN/PROGESTERONE IMBALANCE;

Oestrogen & progesterone are your sex hormones. High and low levels can be problematic;

  • Cranky – quick to feel angry, irritable, impatient, snap at kids, partner, colleagues
  • Sweatyhot flushes, night sweats, excess sweating
  • Overweight weight gain around the bottom and hips, diets not working, sugar cravings
  • Poor sleep – interrupted sleep, waking up with night sweats, getting up to change the sheets
  • Exhausted – feel tired all the time
  • Forgetful – brain fog, can’t concentrate, get distracted, memory lapses, absent- minded
  • Depressed – cry easily, feel low/sad
  • Anxious – constantly worrying , nervous, panicky, fearful
  • Low sex drive – no energy or desire for sex, orgasms harder to achieve and not as intense, sex can be painful
  • PMS – irregular, heavy or painful periods, tender or lumpy breasts, cramps, bloating, headaches, mood swings
  • Dry – dry, itchy skin, wrinkles, vaginal dryness
  • Joint pain – aches and pains, muscle soreness

BLOOD SUGAR or INSULIN IMBALANCE;

Insulin regulates your blood sugar, but is also your FAT STORING hormone!

  • High waist to hip ratio – this is your waist measurement divided by your hip measurement. For women the target is less than 0.8.
  • Sugar/ carb cravings
  • Early hours insomnia – waking up at 3 or 4am
  • Sleepy in the afternoon – need snack or coffee to stay awake, or have to have a nap
  • PMS – irregular, heavy or painful periods, tender or lumpy breasts, cramps, bloating, headaches, mood swings
  • Headaches, dizziness, irritability, poor concentration – when you haven’t eaten for a while
  • High fasting glucose, TG’s (triglycerides), LDL cholesterol and HbA1c – these are all markers for potential blood sugar imbalance and insulin resistance
  • Frequent urination and/or excessive thirst
  • Family history – Diabetes (type 2), heart disease, obesity

If you ticked 3 or more symptoms in any section, you are likely suffering an imbalance in that hormone.

Many symptoms cross over, so it is common to have ticks in several categories. It’s usually the section with the most ticks that could indicate which hormone imbalance is dominant, however it’s common to have lots of ticks in all sections!

If you suspect you have hormone imbalances, it’s important to get yourself checked out, either at your GP or with a qualified health practitioner who can get you fully tested and give you advice on how to re-balance.

Click here for your FREE Hormone Balancing Guide.

Nicki WilliamsHow to tell if you have a hormone imbalance

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